By Ms. Rachael Dalton (IE)
The changing needs on the healthcare environment in 2020 facilitated an evolution in the way we support our cancer patients. Below I will discuss two initiatives which have been very successful in providing supportive care for patients to this very day, that were also discussed in Thematic Session 3 at EAUN23 in Milan.
Virtual support group
The virtual support group and information series was developed in response to the covid pandemic. Working with Cancer Care West, the west of Ireland charity, we needed to look at a new method to reach our patients during this difficult and lonesome time.
The virtual support group and information series was developed to provide men and their families with information and support specific to their cancer, its treatment and potential side effects. Each group meeting is delivered over zoom and facilitated by the advanced nurse practitioner and a clinical psychologist. An expert speaker is invited to attend each meeting and present on their specialist topic. Following the presentation, a safe space for questions is facilitated. The support and information series is advertised across social media platforms with links to register available within. An evaluation form is completed by patients following each session. This evaluation allows the facilitators to develop a theme for the next support and information series evening. Feedback from the sessions have been largely positive, with patients voicing knowledge of speakers and session format as key highlights. Poor engagement by the audience and session duration were areas noted for improvement. The support and information series is facilitated four times a year.
“The virtual support group and information series was developed to provide men and their families with information and support specific to their cancer, its treatment and potential side effects.”
Online ADT education programme
The second programme facilitated to assist patients on their prostate cancer trajectory is the androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) education programme. This programme was developed by Mr. Richard Wassersurg an academic, scientist, and prostate cancer patient, as well as two clinical psychologists. Training for this programme & programme facilitation is kindly provided by the EAU. The aim of this programme was to provide men with more information on coping strategies and side effect management whilst on ADT. To do this, men are invited to register to attend an online class delivered by an advanced nurse practitioner. This interactive class equips patients with comprehensive information and behavioural change techniques who support them on their treatment journey. Each patient receives ‘a life on ADT’ book which provides patients with additional information and resources. Along with this, the ADT website offers patients additional support in the form of patient testimonials and educational video clips. Patient feedback has been largely positive with many people noting the comfort of having the book as a resource to refer back to and others valuing greatly the comments and discussions facilitated within the group session.